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Illinois State Bar Association wins 2 international CLE awards

The International Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) announced that the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) has received two international awards for its CLE programs. The first is an Award for Outstanding Achievement for Pro Bono Basics for Assisting Youth in Need in the Public Interest category. The second is Best Program Award for Professional Excellence for ISBA’s Faculty Development Series: The Art of Effective Communication, the top award in the Best Program category.  ACLEA will formally present the awards to the ISBA at the ACLEA Annual Meeting in Boston on August 2, 2011. ACLEA award winners are selected from competitors representing ACLEA’s more than 300 member organizations. Pro Bono Basics for Assisting Youth in Need, held on December 9, 2010, was sponsored by ISBA’s newly created Special Committee on Juvenile Justice Initiatives which works to promote community-based programs that focus on alternatives to incarceration in juvenile justice matters.  This CLE program grew out of an umet need for pro bono lawyers to assist youth in expunging his or her juvenile record or in removing his or her name from the juvenile sex offender registry.  It is estimated that virtually every juvenile arrested in the State of Illinois will eventually be in need of expungement. The Pro Bono CLE program offered 81 attorneys free training and two hours of CLE credit in return for a commitment to handle at least one pro bono case in 2011 and possibly change a youth’s life. Within four months of the program, several attorneys had already met their commitment by having provided free legal assistance to at least one youth in need. The public-at-large also benefits from this program in various ways, including increasing the number of attorneys trained and available to meet the needs of juveniles and their families who are most often served by legal service entities. Additionally, the attorneys who attended this program and committed to perform even one pro bono case will have helped sustain public confidence in the legal system itself. The success of this Pro Bono CLE program could not have been accomplished without the voluntary efforts of the program coordinator, Anne Gerahty Helms of DLA Piper, Elizabeth Clarke of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Initiative, various committee members, and the qualified panel of speakers including attorneys from the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, Northwestern University School of Law’s Children and Family Justice Center, and several private law firms, all covering topics such as the adult-juvenile distinction in criminal records; issues of confidentiality with respect to juvenile criminal records; expungement versus sealing; and others.
The ISBA’s Faculty Development Series five-part faculty training program was offered during FY 2010-2011 to its CLE speakers in order to provide them with opportunities to improve their ability to convey information to others. The objective of this series is that those who teach CLE should do so effectively. The ISBA is a small, not-for-profit entity that serves 32,000 members and depends virtually exclusively on its volunteer members to conduct its training.  In the past, CLE education has largely relied upon the willingness of experienced attorneys to share their legal knowledge with others, a significant burden to the volunteers with often uneven results.  The ISBA’s Faculty Development Series raises the personal and professional expectations of volunteer speakers by offering them an opportunity to enhance their own education and competency at the same time they prepare to teach others.  Additionally, this series gives much deserved recognition to our volunteers for their valuable contribution to the teaching of CLE. The five sessions cover a wide-ranging breadth of topics including developing learning objectives; understanding adult learning styles; the effective use of technology including webinars, webcasts, PowerPoint; how to reduce the number of hours it takes to create, organize, and draft a compelling presentation and supporting materials; how to enhance one’s own delivery methods; engaging the audience so they listen more attentively, retain more, and, therefore, learn more.  Each of the five sessions covers a distinct area of communication and was designed to appeal to all attorneys regardless of interest or area of practice. The program was offered in a variety of delivery formats and over a course of months rather than hours or days, allowing the 190 volunteers who participated in the series the convenience of flexibility and fitting comfortably into any attorney’s hectic schedule. “The success of the Faculty Development Series was made possible by the voluntary efforts of many including ISBA members serving on the ISBA’s CLE Faculty Development Subcommittee who worked to carefully construct a detailed list of topics for the series,” said Jeanne B. Heaton, ISBA CLE Director. In addition, the committee searched for and allocated funding for a professional trainer to kick off the series.
The 33,000-member ISBA, with offices in Springfield and Chicago, provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public. Information about ISBA and upcoming programs may be found on the web at
Posted on June 16, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
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